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Sophie Page

Astrology is the art of predicting events on earth as well as human character and disposition from the movements of the planets and fixed stars. Medieval astrology encompassed both general concepts of celestial influence, and the technical art of making predictions with horoscopes, symbolic maps of the heavens at particular moments and places constructed from astronomical information. The scientific foundations of the art were developed in ancient Greece, largely lost in early medieval Europe and recovered by the Latin West from Arabic sources in the 12th and 13th centuries. Late medieval astrological images were successfully Christianized and were adapted to particular contexts, acquired local meanings and changed over time.

Astrology developed into a scientific branch of learning in ancient Greece, but because of the opposition of the Church Fathers it was transmitted to early medieval Europe in only fragmentary form in technically unsophisticated textbooks and popular divinatory genres. Literary and scientific texts provided more general ideas about the nature and attributes of the planets which were influential on later iconography. The first significant astrological images appear in 11th-century illustrated astronomical texts (e.g. London, BL, Cotton MS. Tiberius BV), which were acquired and produced by monasteries to aid with time-keeping and the construction of the Christian calendar....


In the 20th century, discussion of the relationship between Byzantine art and the art of the Latin West evolved in tandem with scholarship on Byzantine art itself. Identified as the religious imagery and visual and material culture of the Greek Orthodox Empire based at Constantinople between ad 330 and 1453, studies of Byzantine art often encompassed Post-Byzantine art and that of culturally allied states such as Armenian Cilicia, Macedonia, and portions of Italy. As such fields as Palaiologan family manuscripts and wall paintings, Armenian manuscripts, and Crusader manuscripts and icons emerged, scholars identified new intersections between Western medieval and Byzantine art. Subtle comparisons emerged with the recognition that Byzantine art was not static but changed over time in style and meaning, although most analyses identified Byzantine art as an accessible reservoir of the naturalistic, classicizing styles of antiquity. Scholars considering the 7th-century frescoes at S Maria Antiqua and mosaics at S Maria in Cosmedin, both in Rome, and the 8th-century frescoes at Castelseprio and Carolingian manuscripts such as the Coronation Gospels of Charlemagne (Vienna, Schatzkam. SCHK XIII) used formal comparisons with works such as pre-iconoclastic icons at St Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai, along with the history of Byzantine iconoclasm, to argue for the presence of Greek painters in the West. Similarly, Ottonian and Romanesque painting and luxury arts, such as ivories, provided examples of the appropriation of Byzantine imperial imagery. Yet the study of works such as the great 12th-century ...


(fl c. 250–200 bc).

Greek sculptors. They were employed by the Attalid kings of Pergamon to create monuments to Pergamene victories over the Gauls. Isigonos is mentioned only once (Pliny: Natural History, XXXIV.xix.84) and may be identical with Epigonos, whom Pliny credits with a Trumpeter and a Weeping Child ‘pitifully caressing its murdered mother’ (XXXIV.xix.88), and who also signed eight bases for bronze statues on the Pergamene acropolis, two celebrating victories over the Gauls. No originals by Epigonos survive, but the famous Dying Gaul (Rome, Mus. Capitolino; see Greece, ancient §IV 2., (iv), (b)) may reproduce his Trumpeter and be copied from one of the signed monuments of c. 223 bc. The warrior wears a Celtic torc and is bleeding from a chest wound, his broken trumpet and sword by his side. The realism of the statue emphasizes its pathos and, by stressing the dignity of the conquered, the statue exalts the achievement of the conquerors. Epigonos signed his work as a native Pergamene, while Stratonikos (who also made ‘philosophers’) was from Kyzikos; Antigonos came from Karystos in Euboea if, as some scholars think, he is the same person as the antiquarian of that name. This Antigonos combined the formal analysis of art pioneered by ...


I. Leventi

(fl late 3rd–2nd century bc).

Athenian sculptor. He worked in the service of the Pergamene kings and made the colossal marble cult statue of Asklepios at Pergamon (c. 180 or c. 170 bc), carried off by King Prusias II of Bithynia in 156 or 155 bc (Polybius: Histories XXXII.xxv; Diodorus Siculus: World History XXXI. xxxv). The bearded head of the god on Pergamene coins may be derived from the statue, while a Roman Imperial copy of it has been seen in the colossal marble head in Syracuse (Mus. Archeol. Reg., inv. 693), and the type of his body in the seated marble Asklepios in Cherchel (Mus. Archéol., inv. no. S. 136). The same Phyromachos, presumably, was described as a bronzeworker by Pliny (Natural History XXXIV.li), who set his floruit in the 121st Olympiad (296–292 bc). This date, however, might have been an attempt by Pliny to set Phyromachos just before the dead period (...


Eve D’Ambra


Roman villa in Libya. The élite of the great city of Leptis Magna built villas along the Tripolitanian coast, and the Villa Sileen, near the village of Khums(Qums) is an excellent example of this type of domestic architecture in North Africa. Discovered in 1974, the villa was inhabited in the 2nd century ...


In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....


Diane Harris

( fl mid-1st century ad ).

Greek bronze sculptor, active in Rome and Gaul . His name (‘foreign gift’) suggests that he may have been born in Massalia (Marseille), Asia Minor, Egypt or Syria, and according to Pliny (Natural History XXXIV.xviii.46) he was the foremost sculptor of colossal statues of the 1st century ad. From ad 54 to 64 Zenodoros worked in Arvernis, Gaul, making a bronze statue of Mercury, for which he was paid 40 million sesterces. Nero commissioned him to make a colossal imperial portrait c. 36 m high, which was placed in his palace, the Domus Aurea in Rome (Pliny: XXXIV.xviii.45–6; Suetonius: Nero xxxi). During the reign of Vespasian ( ad 69–79) it was converted into a statue of the Sun god, Sol (Aelius Spartianicus: Hadrian XIX.xii; Herodian: I.xv.9; Pliny: XXXIV.xviii.45). A replica of the Mercury was known in Corinth in antiquity (Pausanias: Guide to Greece II.iii.4) and several extant copies may reflect the original appearance of the statue. The colossal statue of ...